Does Disappointment Reign in Your Life?

I don’t know about you, but I hate being disappointed.  I would almost rather have something happen that makes me mad.  Disappointment seems to swirl up and stick in my heart.  Anger comes and just as quickly, goes.  But not disappointment.  It seems to think it should live on for a while.

I’ve been disappointed in a lot of different ways.  Sometimes, I’m disappointed in the way a circumstance ended.  Or perhaps, a friend has betrayed me.  Or I’m just plain ol’ disappointed in myself.  There are so many ways that disappointment can reign in my life.

I had one of those moments last week.  I didn’t quite know how to react, so I did my normal “just pull it in and internalize it” trick.  No fun, to be sure.

Then, I finally did what I should have done all along – I took it to the Lord.  I explained the situation to him, stating plainly that I knew I couldn’t do one thing to make it different.  He began to move in my heart and mind to bring me back to His way of thinking.

He reminded me that He is the blessed controller of ALL things.  He reminded me to hand this over to Him.  To literally place this in my hands, palms up, then, turn them over and place it in His hands, pulling my hands back and releasing the entire situation to Him.

I did so.  Then, He reminded me that I am to praise Him in all things.  Really, Lord?  All things?  Even this?  His answer was Yes.  So, I did.  This was much harder.  Praising Him shows I am actually believing He can handle this.

I found that He just wants me to “be still and know that He is God.”  I should change things if they are in my power, but otherwise, just trust that He’s at work.  Finally, He reminded me of the second verse of one of my favorite hymns, “I Will Trust When I Cannot See” by John W Peterson, written in 1970.

The words go like this:

“When I face the sting of disappointment; when my dreams lie rumbled in the dust; When my best adds up to loss and failure; when the things that happen seem unjust.

I will trust when I cannot see; when I’m faced with adversity and believe His will is always best for me. I will trust when I cannot see.”

It takes a conscious decision to not let disappointment reign in my life.  I choose to allow the God of the Ages, the One Who loves me and is working on my behalf, to take His rightful place in the activities of my life and to bring His joy in abundance to replace my disappointment.

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My Desire (To Bring Pleasure to My God)

Precious Savior, wondrous King, Mighty in battle, to You alone I sing.

Your love and mercy flowing; Your peace and joy abound.

I give myself and all I am; Your grace, the only sound.

Receive my gifts, Oh Lord, my King; they are so small and weak.

Your pleasure is my life’s desire. Your smile is all I seek.

 

A Letter to Jesus

I had an assignment…to read John 10:14-15 and write a letter to Jesus expressing how those verses made me feel.  Here are the words I read:  “I am the good Shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

I thought about these verses and realized three important facts:  1. Jesus knows me;  2. Jesus loves me; and  3. Jesus died for me.

I pondered those facts for a while and here is the letter I wrote to Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

As I ponder Your love for me, I just can’t quite get my around it.  The facts that you know me AND love me are intertwined in amazing grace and mercy.  I can hardly grasp it.

Thank You so much for dying for me.  You, Who had no sin, died for me who is full of sin.  Another fact that I’m grasping to pull into my heart.  I guess, sometimes, all I can say is, “Thank You, thank You, thank You.”

Love, Joanie

As I repeated those words to Him, He pulled me into His arms and gently held me.  This tender act of grace caught me unaware.  He didn’t even need to speak as His actions spoke ever so much louder than any words could have.

Then, I moved into the present…His death on the cross saves me.  His resurrection puts life into these weary bones.  His coming return gives me hope.  His love fills my heart.  Nothing more is needed.

Singing…”What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.  No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

A Fair Weather Fan

With a start, I realized I was a “fair weather fan” when it comes to the Seattle Mariners.  I really enjoy watching the games, checking in on the score, knowing who made the winning hit…as long as they are winning.  Then, when they go through a losing streak, my interest begins to wane.  I find other things to do.  While I still like to know when they win, I’m not surging to find the answers.  They are still my team.  I still root for them and uphold them when people say mean things about them, but…

My thoughts began to wander a little from this realization as I heard a little, still, small voice inside me say, “Are you a “fair weather fan” with me, too?”  I sat up straight, and didn’t like where this conversation was going.

However, I thought back on my life.  I have had many good years, and some, not so good.  As I cogitated, I saw myself through the lens of my spiritual leanings.  I can truthfully say I’ve never doubted God’s love for me…ever.  However, I’ve doubted, sometimes, if He really knew what He was doing.  Then, with a bound, I would realize that He’s God, the Almighty, the One Who loves me and went to great lengths to prove it.  And my perspective comes back to “home base.”

I don’t want to be a “fair weather fan” when it comes to Jesus.  I want to, not only root for the home team, but understand that the home team is the only team that will get me to the winner’s circle. (Yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors.  Smile.)  I want to be interested in what He is doing in my life, in the good times…and the bad.  He’s never left me, never forsaken me, never pushed me away when I’ve failed, nor has He ignored my pleas.

No fair weather fan am I!  I’ve decided!  I’ve chosen my team well!  I stick with the Manager who will always be “Manager of the Year.”  So, whether I “strike out” or “hit a home run,” I can be assured that He is always there to pat me on the back, give me a hug, and love me, no matter what happens.

Slow Down!

My friend, Dawn, and I have been doing a weekly study now for over five years.  We began with the book, Journey with Jesus, the study of the Exercises of Ignatius.  The study took us over a year to complete, but we both found it transformational in our lives.

We have decided to re-study that book.  I began to read through the Introduction and Part 1 to re-acquaint myself with the exercises and how to approach them. One of the “activities,” if you can call it that, is the “slowing down” process.

I sit quietly, breathing in slowly and then, out, in and out, slowing my thoughts along with my body.

I’m reminded of my granddaughter, Sydella, many years ago.  She must have been only about five years old.  Her daddy was having a horrible, very bad day and was expressing his displeasure in no uncertain terms.  Sydella walked over and slipped her arm through his and said, “Daddy, you can’t let the bad thoughts take control.  Just do this:  Breathe out the bad thoughts; breath in the good thoughts.  Out with the bad; in with the good.”

I chuckled when I heard that story, but now, all these years later, I’m remembering the amazing wisdom of her words.  And I slow my breathing and breathe out the bad, sad, worrisome thoughts and breathe in the sweet, amazing grace that God is giving me.  I place all my troublesome thoughts, along with the sleights I think I’ve suffered and the questions of the future in my hands, palms up.  Then, I slowly turn them, palms down, releasing all into the hands of Jesus, those nail scarred hands.  As I turn the palms back up, I receive all the grace and peace I need for today.

Breathe out, breathe in.  Palms down, palms up.

I find I’m slowed down.  The pressures and troublesome thoughts are put in their rightful place.  I find I can move into the Presence of the Lord with greater ease, leaning on Him, leaning into Him, and all of a sudden, His strength becomes mine.  I know, wonderfully and fully, that He is all I need to accomplish what concerns me today.

I put myself in the hands of the One Who loves me.  He welcomes me with arms wide open.  I am truly grateful.  I bow myself before the One True God and give myself for Him and to Him.  He IS my refuge and my strength, my fortress.  To Him I run.